We don’t cover a ton of recruiting news around these parts, but what happened tonight qualifies as an exception. That’s because what had been an impressive offseason for UCF men’s basketball took an historic turn Monday night when C.J. Walker, a former-five star recruit, announced he is transferring to the Knights. He is heading into his sophomore season.
Walker, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Sanford, Fla., is the program’s first-ever five-star player. Rivals, ESPN and 24/7 Sports all ranked the Oak Ridge High product among top 35 prospects in the 2019 class. Walker initially committed to the University of Oregon, where he averaged 14.9 minutes, 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds across 28 games as a freshman for the Ducks.
Last week, however, Walker announced that he would be transferring from Oregon in order to play closer to home and be closer to some ailing family members.
Monday’s commitment wasn’t a stroke of good luck for UCF; the Knights had established a relationship with Walker dating back a number of years, per UCF Sports’ Brandon Helwig.
C.J. Walker visited UCF multiple times throughout his high school recruitment, including this visit during Johnny Dawkins' first season in 2016-17. Walker was a sophomore then. pic.twitter.com/J9mID8DxkE— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) July 6, 2020
And this visit at the beginning of his junior year. https://t.co/63RnfqWcWK— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) July 6, 2020
Even if you throw out the star rating system, Walker has legitimate first-round NBA Draft potential. He possesses a 6-foot-10 wingspan, an ability to score at all three levels and the athleticism to pull off something like this:
Here are some more clips of Walker to get your mouth watering:
As former UCF point guard Mike O’Donnell pointed out, the Knights may now have the top frontcourt in the American Athletic Conference with Walker (assuming he is eligible) teaming up with senior Collin Smith and VCU transfer Sean Mobley, all of whom can step out and score away from the basket.
The Knights added Louisville grad transfer Darius Perry in April and will welcome freshman forward Isaiah Adams, the 2020 Mr. Florida Basketball. With returning sophomore guards Tony Johnson Jr., Dre Fuller Jr. and record-setting sharpshooter Darin Green Jr. also in the mix, the Knights appear primed for an NCAA Tournament return in short order.